Sports often are the best diplomacy, from ping pong in 1971 opening a long-closed door between the United States and China, to more recently, the invitation to North Korea to join the World Cup soccer games. Add to that list: mountain biking in Iran.
Two years ago, filmmaker Gregor Mahringer and cameraman Julius Steinbacher felt the urge to go beyond the mainstream and give an insight into the off the wall mountain bike scene of one of the most isolated countries in the world.
There is still a great deal of tension and lingering suspicion between Iran and nearly every other country. For most of us, this country stands for the axis of evil, religious fundamentalists, and the fear of the nuclear program, but a small band of intrepid mountain bikers presents a very different perspective on the country.
Via facebook the filmmakers found their central character in Hossein Zanjanian, an internationally ranked downhill rider, who introduced them to a stunning backdrop in the mountain ranges just north from Iran's capital Tehran.
Besides stunning scenery, gripping mountain bike action and an unique insight into the country and its people, the film also examines some of the tensions—like the immense cultural status of the automobile in Iran, which further diminishes respect for bicycles in the country; and the acute difficult of finding bikes and parts due to import sanctions on the country. The Highlight is a national downhill race hosted by the cycling federation of the I.R. of Iran.
About the Film
1 January 2016